Relaunch -- the most prominent conduit of In Reality's sire line in 2009 -- was well-represented in the pedigrees of weekend stakes winners.
These days, Relaunch might be best known as the grandsire of Tiznow (SRO) and Put It Back (SRO) and great-grandsire of Officer (SRO) -- but the 1979 Del Mar Derby (gr. IIIT) winner has really left his mark as a damsire. With a first crop arriving in 1982 (and first foals as a damsire born in 1987), he worked his way up the list of leading broodmare sires and earlier this decade he regularly ranked in the top 10 nationwide -- including fourth in 2004 when the $2.5 million earned by Ghostzapper (SRO) helped him top $10 million in annual progeny earnings as a damsire. (He's set to surpass the $100 million earnings mark as a damsire probably in early 2010.) As a broodmare sire just as a sire, Relaunch has proved to be a speed influence -- in both categories his progeny have an average winning distance under seven furlongs.
Relaunch's final crop of foals came in 1997; the stallion, who was euthanized in 1996 at Wimbledon Farm in Kentucky, has reached the stage where he appears mainly in the second or third generation of present-day runners. And so it was this past weekend when Dry Martini (profile) advanced from last to first to add the storied Suburban Handicap (gr. II) to his race record. The fourth graded victory for Dry Martini, a grey 6-year-old gelding by Relaunch's now Argentine-based son Slew Gin Fizz, brought him over the $1 million earnings milestone. Dry Martini descends from a decidedly Floridian family 11 (going back to matriarch Itsabet of Harry Isaac's Brookfield Farm breeding operation). Slew Gin Fizz -- like many Relaunch-line studs including Honour and Glory (SRO) -- proved to be more popular in South America than in his native land, and was exported to Argentina in 2005.
Relaunch appeared as damsire in the pedigree of another weekend black type winner when the highweighted filly Closeout (profile) ran off with the Locust Grove Handicap (gr. IIIT) to close out (fittingly) Churchill Downs' spring meet. Closeout, another Florida-bred, won the one-mile contest by daylight. She had previously won the nine-furlong Pucker Up Stakes (also gr. IIIT). Her dam, Deep Discount -- an unraced mare from family 20-c who was inbred 2 x 3 to In Reality -- appears to be a sure thing when bred to the Roberto son Repriced: the combination has been tried six times and has thus far yielded two graded-winning fillies, a gelding that won -- again, fittingly -- the Relaunch Stakes, and another stakes-placed mare. (The other full siblings are a 2-year-old colt that first hit the track the same day Closeout took the Locust Grove, and an as-yet unnamed yearling filly.) Closeout and her siblings are a shining example of a breeder thinking long-term: Glen Hill Farm's Leonard Lavin has been developing the families of Shelf Talker (second dam of Repriced) and Convenience (Closout's own fourth dam) for the past 40 years.